First things first: What is a TLD?

The word TLD is undoubtedly common to you, but what is a TLD and what does it actually stand for? The term TLD refers to the top-level domain that corresponds to the end of a domain name or a segment that follows the dot symbol immediately, such as .com, .net, .org, .edu, and others. You have almost certainly seen a plethora of country-specific TLDs, such as .fr, .ca, or .co.uk. (also known as a top-level country-code domain, or ccTLD). And you probably know that other generic top-level domains (known as gTLDs) are dispersed, such as .inc, and .company. There are currently more than 1,500 TLDs, according to the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).

In this article, we will focus on the .io domain extension. While there are more than 1,500 TLDs, we will help provide answers to some of the more popular questions we get from entrepreneurs, such as "What is .io?" “What is io domain?” ," "What is the domain extension for .io? "and, most relevant to new businesses, "Can I launch my company using the .io domain? ” Let’s begin!

What does .io mean? And why does it matter?


Recently, especially among tech and SaaS startups, one TLD has become popular: .io. This TLD is assigned to the British Indian Ocean Territory, the seven atolls of the southern Indian Chagos Archipelago, which includes, in particular, the Diego Garcia Atoll, site of the U.S. military base. In recent years, this domain has become popular, but have you ever wondered why? If it's a country-specific TLD, what is the .io domain extension doing in the tech space?

.IO has developed into one of the hottest start-up domain name extensions. As .IO has existed since 1997 and was initially assigned as the ccTLD for the British Indian Ocean Territory, this is a little odd. Why do startups switch to .IO, then? Startups can get fast and unforgettable names with .IO, as .IO has excellent availability. A .IO domain name and io websites can be a simpler alternative than a lengthy and complicated domain name using a more defined suffix extension (or buying expensive premium domains). To put it plainly, for a great price, .IOs are a convenient way to get a great domain, and .IO has a handful of other distinguishing advantages.

Before we discuss the basics of how and why the io domain meaning and extension became so popular among tech startups, It's important to consider how the emergence of 1,500+ new TLDs has reshaped the world of domain names as a whole. And how corporations are discovering new innovative ways to no longer focus on .com while looking for the correct domain and TLD for their brand.

Finding the perfect domain and TLD for your business

Without getting a corresponding domain, you can't introduce a brand today. You have two options for a new startup: pick a brand name that you can quickly get a domain name for, or find someone who owns the domain you want and purchase it from them. You will have to develop a new term, such as Strikingly, if you choose the former alternative. With this, so many businesses are created with "interesting" names these days.

Although you may be able to create an effective two-word name that has not been reserved, all the good .com domains have already been taken away. You will also have to spend a lot of money to purchase your domain if you actually have to have a particular name, so be wary of that. Of course, other solutions remain. You can pick .co, .biz, .site, or .xyz, but none of these hold the same reputation as the .com domain of a brand's website.

TLD as a core part of your business

You may want to get innovative and try and find a brand name where, as part of the term, you can use an established TLD. Sta.sh, for example, is the customized publication website of DeviantArt for all users to share and 'stash' all their photos, writings, illustrations, and other in-progress artistic works.

In addition, the .ly TLD has become widely popular as a way of producing a distinctive brand, simply by adding "ly" to the end of it, based on a single word. Websites such as Bit.ly, Profit.ly, List.ly, and Embed.ly have all created their own memorable brand names after a single word specific to their organization by doing nothing other than clicking on the .ly TLD.

Although Google has reported that when it comes to ranking for search keywords, using a TLD as part of a keyword is totally overlooked, this technique has become very common because of the intrinsic benefit of providing a memorable domain with the appearance of eliminating the TLD altogether (no .com, .net, or .org necessary). Only a few examples of popular websites that have effectively adopted this technique are Visual.ly, Persona.ly, Freebitco.in, Prodi.gy, and Sta.sh.

Moving from .com domain to other TLDs like .io

In certain examples, organizations have also lost (or more frequently forwarded) their .com domains to use a separate TLD with a new, shorter, or more important domain. For eg, tour-eiffel.com is now forwarding Toureiffel.paris to a more geographically appropriate, keyword-friendly domain that no longer needs a hyphen.

In comparison, with a newer TLD, a current brand or domain name may often be shortened, and many firms have caught on and have taken advantage of this. For starters, by changing lionsgateacademy.org to lionsgate.academy, the public school Lionsgate Academy was able to fully delete .org from its jurisdiction. Speaking of shortening a domain name, using an acronym, such as NHM.org, has often been commonplace with corporations with longer business names to take advantage of a shorter domain (The Natural History Museum).

Unfortunately, 3 to 4 character .com domains are very few, if any, available today, making it virtually difficult to use an acronym for a .com domain. The positive news is that marketers have been able to discover innovative ways to take advantage of shorter, more unforgettable domains that exploit brand recognition through the huge growth in TLDs available in recent years. Take the Oregon-based veterinary agency, Animal Health Associates, for instance. They have been able to switch their website to the much more memorable aha.vet domain from the long-winded animalhealthassociates.org.

So why would I want an .io domain extension?

You might notice that the .io domain extension is used by a number of software startups and SaaS businesses (e.g. Greenhouse.io, Material.io, Keywordtool.io, and Spring.io), and there is a valid explanation for it. It is similar to the abbreviation I/O, a standard term when addressing computational systems, which means input/output. And it still has other benefits. Although it is legally a jurisdiction of a government, most people do not connect it to their host territories. (This is identical to the .tv ccTLD for Tuvalu or .fm for Micronesia Federated States.)

It is also pretty easy to recall, since it is being used by more firms in the tech room, and it's easy to pronounce: eye-oh. With its vertical bar followed by a circle, it's short, and it's visual. It's more pricey than most domains (ranging from around $33 to $99 a year)-the price varies, but not by much, on which registrar you select. This domain has been licensed by a range of well-known companies: yahoo.io, coke.io, and even Google.io. These businesses do not deliberately use the domain in this situation, they have reserved it for their intellectual property protection, and most of them actually forward the .io domain to their primary domain.

Currently, you would like to do the same if you already have a .com domain or another domain for your brand. And there's one more explanation why tech startups, web apps, and SaaS startups are becoming increasingly popular with the .io domain extension. Google finds .io to be a global top-level domain (gTLD), which means that it is not country-specific, meaning it can turn up anywhere in the world in search results.

The fact that it stands out is one of the downsides of the .io domain. The basic fact is this: it indicates that your brand does not have a .com, which can be seen as a drawback. You may be curious if it can be considered a downside. Although this is not always a major issue for tech companies, especially for SaaS companies, this may be considered a negative by other brands. Additionally, it could be tough to locate in web searches before the brand hits a certain degree of success. If users only type your brand name without the extension .io, your business will not actually be Google's first hit.

For domains, there are no second chances. Once the highly prized .com is gone, it will be gone (unless you can persuade its owner to sell it). You have a range of choices, from .net to .co, to other country codes for innovative purposes, and .io is one you can remember. You can definitely buy .io domain without delay if the .com domain is open, but you may want to explore other innovative alternatives as well.

Start your .io domain adventure with Strikingly!

Now that you have obtained your very own .io domain for your website, it’s time to actually build one! With Strikingly, you have thousands of themes and templates to use and own, while not breaking the bank. You may also purchase your own website domain with Strikingly, and it’s on us for your first year. Strikingly is a robust website builder with tons of features that is completely free to use. Check us out our pricing and plans which include your own domain now!